Media figures regularly try to slap the label of “hypocrite” on the Republican party and the pro-life movement. That’s because, they say, while pro-lifers challenge abortion, they aren’t really pro-life because of their position on [insert other cause here].
Right now, “coronavirus” fills those brackets.
Many in the media are accusing President Trump and Republican leadership of pushing states to reopen at the risk of losing lives to the pandemic. In their response, columnists from the New York Times to the Washington Post recently declared that Republicans are no longer “pro-life” – and went so far as to say that they belonged to the “party of death.” Other outlets and figures on Twitter expanded on that, calling the entire pro-life movement “pro-death.” With their arguments, the media revealed something else, too: a double-standard on life.
“You’re not really pro-life” is a tired argument wielded against the pro-life movement. Last summer, media retracted comments accusing pro-lifers of remaining silent about the plight of migrant children after pro-life leaders delivered supplies to the border. In May 2019, a writer dared pro-lifers to say that they “personally” helped mothers in need. Responses flooded in from Americans who house single moms, adopt children, counsel women, and support pregnancy centers.
The pro-life movement calls itself pro-life because it acknowledges the inherent dignity and worth of the human person, from the moment of conception. Abortion is the greatest violation of this dignity – of human life today – as it intentionally destroys millions of innocent lives each year. Because of this, the pro-life movement is especially inspired to give voice to the unborn.
The media are right: to be consistent, Republicans and pro-lifers who challenge abortion should take every precaution to ensure human lives aren’t needlessly risked or treated as disposable during the pandemic.
Likewise, to be consistent, the media should hold Democrats and pro-choicers to the same standards that they do Republicans and pro-lifers – or drop their current argument.
Imagine the roles reversed: Headlines might accuse Democrats of not being really “pro-choice” because they don't support choices on [insert other issue here – from guns to school choice]. And if the media believed their argument that “pro-life” should encompass all life, they might pen a piece on how Democrats weren’t really “pro-life” because of the party’s unwavering support of abortion.
This is the media’s double-standard: that while they insist that the born are equal to the unborn to mock the pro-life movement, they will never admit that the unborn are equal to the born.
The mainstream media don’t slam the Democrats as the “party of death” for supporting born lives even as they back abortion during the coronavirus. Consider Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s tweet on March 6, reading, “No life is worth losing to add one more point to the Dow.” Then there’s New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who said a day earlier that “To me, I say, the cost of a human life – a human life is priceless, period.”
No, the media picked different targets.
One New York Times opinion headline promised to explain “How Republicans Became the Party of Death” on April 24.
For his first example, columnist Timothy Egan pointed to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick of Texas, who declared that there are “more important things than living,” in reference to reopening the economy after the coronavirus. Egan failed to address other Republican state leaders like Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio “who moved aggressively to close down his state and has been cautious about lifting the restrictions,” according to a Washington Post report.
Also at the Washington Post, columnist Jennifer Rubin wrote an opinion piece published on May 6 with the headline: “At least we can dump the pretense that the GOP is the ‘pro-life’ party.”
“Republicans’ candor, their willingness to sacrifice American lives in a desperate effort to shape up the economy in time for Election Day, is stunning,” Rubin exclaimed.
A Refinery29 headline on April 24 read, “There’s Nothing Pro-Life About Letting People Die From Coronavirus.” Writer Natalie Gontcharova focused on protesters demanding the U.S. reopen in various states.
“Many of the people who preach ‘pro-life’ values are the same ones who vote for politicians who have no interest in the lives of millions of Americans beyond the womb,” she wrote. “It would be nice if these people came clean and told us it’s not about the sanctity of life for them at all — it’s about controlling and demeaning people whose lives they don’t value.”
The comments continued on Twitter.
On May 5, TV host Jawn Murray tweeted, “The Republican Party can no longer call itself ‘Pro Life!’”
“Red State governors across this country are prematurely reopening states because the GOP misses their M.O.N.E.Y.,” he insisted. “They want to sacrifice the lives of Americans to boost the economy! GOP = PDP (Pro-Death Pandemic)!”
With GQ magazine, correspondent Julia Ioffe urged on May 12, “I still can't get my head around the pivot from ‘every life matters, even that of the unborn’ or ‘some people are going to die.’”
New York Times contributing oped writer and CNN contributor Wajahat Ali tweeted on May 7, “Can the pro life party now rebrand as the pro death party? I'm serious. ‘Kill Grandma, Save The World.’”
Republicans and Democrats, pro-lifers and pro-choicers, Americans and the media should protect and value Grandma’s life. But they should do the same for Granddaughter’s life too.